Aug 15, 2013 6:46 PM by The Missoulian

Pet Fest joins organizations around the world that come together on the third Saturday of August to raise awareness about the pet overpopulation epidemic.

On Saturday, the eighth annual Pet Fest returns to Caras Park in downtown Missoula from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

International Homeless Animals’ Day activities often include adopt-a-thons, spay/neuter clinics, microchip clinics, blessings of the animals, dog walks, award ceremonies and games.

At Pet Fest, more than 80 dachshunds steal the show in the Wiener Dog Dash, bringing hundreds to the park to show off their pets, enter contests, visit vendors and shelter animals, and adopt four-legged friends.

Gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded in the 2013 Doggie Olympics, which include events such as the Peanut Butter Lick, Best Dressed Pet, Dunking for Hot Dogs, Musical Sit, Obedience Baseball, Agility Course and the Wiener Dog Dash. The Dash, with the Li’l Smokies, Frankfurter and Bratwurst age categories, will start at 2 p.m.

Pet Fest promotes responsible pet ownership and adoptable pets from local animal shelters and rescue organizations. Participants in Pet Fest include the Humane Society of Western Montana, Animal Control, Life Savers Animal Rescue, Equine Rescue & Rehab, Alpine Canine, Murdoch’s, Showcase Pet Grooming and more.

Area animal shelters are brimming with happy, healthy animals just waiting for someone to take them home at Pet Fest. Many shelters and rescue organizations will offer reduced adoption fees at Pet Fest. For example, adult cats will be free from the Humane Society, complete with vaccinations and spayed or neutered.

The number of euthanized animals could be reduced dramatically if more people adopted pets instead of buying them. By adopting, you’ll help save the lives of two animals – the pet you adopt and a homeless animal somewhere that can be rescued because of space you helped free up.

Admission to Pet Fest is free, but visitors are encouraged to bring a donation of pet food, including food for horses, to help feed shelter animals. All donations are divided among the participating shelters and rescue organizations at the end of Pet Fest.

Call Marketplace Media at (406) 203-4200 or visit www.petfest.net for more information.

​Reach the Missoulian newsroom at newsdesk@missoulian.com or at (406) 523-5240.